Americans may have to wait until President Donald Trump leaves the White House to see his tax returns, and he is unlikely to release them as part of a negotiated deal to move his package of tax reform legislation through Congress, Trump said in an interview published Thursday morning.
Asked during an interview with The Economist conducted last week if he would release his tax returns if they became a sticking point for Senate Democrats, whose support his tax reform legislation may be needed in order to pass, Trump said “I doubt it.”
“Nobody cares about my tax return except for the reporters,” he said. “Oh, at some point I’ll release them. Maybe I’ll release them after I’m finished because I’m very proud of them actually. I did a good job.”
At that point, according to the interview transcript, White House director of strategic communications Hope Hicks interjected to suggest that Trump would release his returns, as he and other White House officials have long promised, “once the audit is over.” Trump then repeated that “I might release them after I’m out of office.”
During last year’s presidential campaign, Trump broke with decades of tradition by refusing to release his tax returns, claiming that his personal lawyers and accountants had advised him not to do so while he was under audit. The IRS has said that there is no regulation against an individual making open their own tax returns while under audit, something former President Richard Nixon did in 1973.
Democrats have recommended that Trump might be hiding something in his tax returns and that he ought to release them before pursuing any tax reform so that Americans can be assured that his proposals are not constructed particularly to benefit his own tax liabilities.
“By the way, so as you know I’m under routine audit, so they’re not going to be done,” Trump said later in the interview. “But you know, at a certain point, that’s something I will consider. But I would never consider it as part of a deal.”